As Utah’s favorite local garden center since 1955, Millcreek Gardens knows that doing a little prep work in the fall will give you a jumpstart on the spring growing season.

Fall yard and garden clean-up isn’t a difficult task, and spending a little time on maintenance now can help ensure beautiful and bountiful vegetable and flower gardens next year.

fall yard cleanup

So, before you put away your gardening supplies for the winter, check off some or all of the items on our step-by-step guide to fall yard cleanup and prep.

Remove and Clean Plant Supports

Start by removing any trellises, tomato cages, bean stakes or other plant supports. Spray the supports with a two-to-one solution of water and bleach, then wipe them down and set them out to dry thoroughly before putting them in storage.

Remove Spent Plant Material

Get rid of any dead plants, dried vines, fallen leaves and inedible fruits and vegetables. If the spent plant material was healthy, add it to your compost pile. If you notice any signs of disease, take the material to the trash can or burn it instead.

Perform a Soil Test

Head to the garden center or the USU extension office for a soil test kit. When you combine a soil sample with water in the testing tube, the color changes to indicate your soil pH, or acidity. For most plants, the ideal pH range is 5.5 to 7.0, though some have different needs. Check with your local garden center for specific information on your plant varieties.

Amend the Soil

If your soil pH is less than optimal, you may want to add an amendment to the soil. To raise the pH, you’ll need agricultural lime. To lower the pH, sulfur is typically used. Both of these products are available at your local garden center. Soil amendments take about three months to have an effect, so fall application is ideal.

Add Organic Matter

Compost, dry tree leaves, grass clippings or aged manure can help improve moisture retention and drainage in your soil. Apply the material in a two- to four-inch layer over all of your garden and planting beds, and you’ll have better soil in the spring.

Till the Soil

Any amendments and organic matter you apply need to be worked into the top several inches of soil. Grab a spade or tiller – you can pick one up at your local garden center, if you don’t already own one of these gardening tools -- and till the soil, going across once in each direction.

Cover the Soil with Mulch

To stop weeds from invading your planting beds, cover them with a two- to three-inch layer of mulch. Your local garden center stocks a wide range of mulches that can provide effective protection.

If you have questions about any of these garden maintenance tasks, or if you need recommendations for soil amendments, mulch or other gardening supplies, the friendly staff at Millcreek Gardens can give you expert answers.

Millcreek Gardens has everything you need for a healthy, productive spring growing season. For more information on fall yard and landscape clean-up, visit our Salt Lake City garden center today.